What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a natural substance, which occurs in a low quantity in many fruits and vegetables. It is commercially obtained from xylan-rich plant material, mainly from birch wood. Xylitol is classified as a sugar alcohol or polyalcohol and is commonly used as a sweetener. (Mäkinen, 1978)
Since the 1970s, when the first studies showed a potential effect of Xylitol on preventing dental caries (Turku Sugar Studies, Scheinin et al., 1975/1976), Xylitol has been widely researched and officially accepted as self-applied caries preventive agent. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry supports the use of Xylitol as noncariogenic sweetener (AAPD, 2022).

Why is saliva secretion important for your teeth?

Saliva acts like a natural mouthwash. It is a natural cleanser, removing harmful bacteria and food particles from your mouth. Xylitol, like any other sweetener, can increase salivary flow, because of its mere sweet taste. But because oral bacteria is incapable of fermenting Xylitol into cariogenic and acidic endproducts (Mäkinen, 2011), the saliva flow induced by Xylitol is more alkaline and noncariogenic then saliva produced by other sugary products. This means that Xylitol mints are safe to use any time of the day or night to reduce the dry mouth symptoms without damaging your teeth. Saliva has also an important role in tooth remineralization (Nayak et al., 2014).

How Xylitol reduces the risk of dental caries?

Xylitol is not readily metabolised by oral bacteria, this means that the most common oral bacteria Streptococcus mutans can`t grow in your mouth when you use Xylitol after consumptions of foods or sugary drinks (Scheinin et al., 1975; Nayak et al., 2014). The growth of oral bacteria causes the so-called acid attack which in turn causes dental caries. The use of relatively small daily amounts of Xylitol significantly reduces the incidence of dental caries (Mäkinen, 2011). Combinations of Xylitol and Erythritol may reduce the incidence of caries more effectively than either alditol alone (Mäkinen, 2011).

Why Xylitol helps to remineralize your teeth?

Remineralization is a natural tooth repair process. Xylitol is responsible for increasing mineralization on dental tissues. As discussed before, Xylitol increases salivary flow. The remineralization process occurs due to enhanced saliva flow that is rich in phosphate and calcium (Gasmi Benahmed et al., 2020).
So using Xylitol mints is not only reducing the risk of dental caries, it is also helping to remineralize already eroded teeth by strengthening your tooth`s enamel.

How Xylitol reduces dental plaque?

Dental plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on your teeth. Xylitol has a significant antiplaque effect on teeth (Gasmi Benahmed et al., 2020). Xylitol containing foods and oral hygiene products reduce the growth of dental plaque by decreasing the growth of caries-associated bacteria (Mäkinen, 2011). So, using Xylitol mints regularly after every meal, snack or drink reduces oral bacteria and thereby dental plaque.
Erythritol has been shown to be particularly effective in reduction of plaque growth and it has also lower levels of plaque acetic acid (Runnel et al., 2013).

Here you can find the list of references used on this page.